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The event is being put on by the Forest Grove Sustainability Commission at the Forest Theater.

COURTESY OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY - The Cascadia Subduction Zone stretches from Northern California to British Columbia, a region that's home to about 8 million people.The Forest Grove Sustainability Commission is full of advice — you might have seen its tips on environmentally friendly gift-wrapping, or what to throw away versus what to compost, or how to reduce light pollution.

But when it comes to the heavy stuff, dispensing wisdom — and actually having it get through to people — can be pretty challenging.

The Sustainability Commission started a speaker series last summer it calls the "Knowledge Pub." This month's topic: preparing for a major earthquake.

As an event announcement remarked, "We think this is the kind of stuff our community should really know, but not without having a drink first."

That's one way of putting it. Oregon State University professor Chris Goldfinger and his research team believe there is about a one-in-three chance of an earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater in the Pacific Northwest within the next 50 years. Experts, including state and local officials, agree that if and when "the Big One" hits, Oregon is woefully underprepared. The most pessimistic projections suggest residents could go without water and electricity for months, and that it could take more than a year to bring local hospitals back online and repair major roads, highways and bridges.

But the seriousness of the earthquake danger makes it all the more important to be prepared. That's what Stacy Metzger will address at the Wednesday, Jan. 24, Knowledge Pub event.

Metzger volunteers as the "Map Your Neighborhood" coordinator with Forest Grove Fire & Rescue. She will guide residents through preparedness, including how to get and store water — which will be crucial for survival.

There is no charge to attend the event, which will be held at the Forest Theater, 1911 Pacific Ave. in Forest Grove. Drinks will be available for purchase for attendees 21 and older.

The talk begins at 7:30 p.m.

The inaugural Knowledge Pub was held last June, with speaker Deke Gundersen, a sustainability commissioner and environmental science professor at Pacific University, giving a talk about how to explain what is happening in the world to children — specifically, his daughter.

Another Knowledge Pub event is already being planned for spring. Jacob Rose, the commission's vice chairman, said people can expect to see some more "fun" topics for the speaker series in the future.

Rose is also hoping for a good turnout at Metzger's talk next Wednesday, as it takes on an important topic of significant interest to the general public.

"We're looking forward to seeing some new faces," he said.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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